Former prime minister and Reform Party MP Taavi Rõivas said that Prime Minister Jüri Ratas' (Centre) decision not to attend the presidential reception on Independence Day, February 24, is one borne of bitterness.
"Jüri Ratas' decision not to attend the president's annual reception is undoubtedly a sign," Rõivas told ERR on Friday.
Ratas added that the prime minister is, either consciously or by accident, putting himself in the same boat as interior minister Mart Helme (EKRE) and former prime minister Edgar Savisaar (Centre), both of whom have in the past missed the annual evening presidential reception, in recent years held at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu.
"They [Helme and Savisaar] have also expressed their bitter attitude towards the president in this dramatic way. February 24 is Estonia's birthday and has been the most important date of the year for every head of government," Rõivas continued.
Jüri Ratas said he would certainly attend the parade in Vabaduse väljak on independence day, but would not be attending the reception as he wanted to spend the evening with his family.
Asked whether relations had been harmed by recent remarks by President Kersti Kaljulaid that the current coalition, headed up by Ratas, is a threat to Estonia's national security, the prime minister responded that: "There is nothing threatening national security and constitutional order in Estonia."
Ratas recently told ERR's Russian language TV channel ETV+ about his intentions. The prime minister also did not attend the traditional annual restoration of independence day reception at Kadriorg Palace, hosted by the president, in August.
Editor: Andrew Whyte